DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS FEDERAL CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION WASECA, MINNESOTA and LOCAL 801, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO
United States of America
BEFORE THE FEDERAL SERVICE IMPASSES PANEL
|In the Matter of
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
LOCAL 801, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF
Case No. 03 FSIP 79
DECISION AND ORDER
Local 801, American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO (Union), filed a request for assistance with the Federal Service Impasses Panel (Panel) to consider a negotiation impasse under the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (Statute), 5 U.S.C. § 7119, between it and the Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons, Federal Correctional Institution (FCI), Waseca, Minnesota (Employer).
Following investigation of the Union’s request for assistance, which arose from negotiations over the implementation of a 4/10 compressed work schedule (CWS),(1) the Panel determined that the dispute should be resolved through an informal conference, by telephone, with Panel Member Richard B. Ainsworth. The parties were informed that if no settlement was reached during the informal conference, Member Ainsworth would report to the Panel on the status of the dispute, including the parties’ final offers and his recommendations for resolving the impasse. After considering this information, the Panel would take whatever action it deemed appropriate to resolve the impasse, which could include the issuance of a binding decision.
Pursuant to this procedural determination, Member Ainsworth
convened a teleconference with the parties on July 14, 2003, during which the
parties made some progress in narrowing their differences; this led to a
resolution of an issue involving the starting and quitting times for those
assigned to a 4/10 CWS post. The parties, however, were unable to reach a
voluntary resolution on two other issues. Member Ainsworth has reported to the
Panel and it has now considered the entire record.
The Employer’s mission is to protect society by confining criminal offenders in the controlled environments of prisons and community-based facilities that are safe, humane, and appropriately secure. The Waseca FCI houses approximately 1,050 low security inmates. The Union represents about 190 bargaining-unit employees at the Waseca facility who are part of a nationwide bargaining unit consisting of over 20,000. The dispute herein affects only the approximately 90 correctional officers who work in Correctional Services or "custody." The parties are covered by a master collective-bargaining agreement (MCBA) which was to have expired on March 8, 2001; however, it has been extended while negotiators at the national level continue bargaining over a successor agreement.
Pursuant to Article 18, Hours of Work, Section (b), of the MCBA, the parties at the local level have been delegated the task of negotiating over the implementation of flexible and/or compressed schedules. During the parties’ negotiations at the local level, they entered into a written agreement to implement a CWS in Correctional Services for a 6-month trial period; also, they agreed in principle that four correctional officer posts assigned to the Visiting Room(2) would be permitted to work a 4/10 CWS during the trial period.
ISSUES AT IMPASSE
Essentially, the unresolved issues are: (1) whether other posts, in addition to four in the Visiting Room, should be assigned a 4/10 CWS; and (2) the procedures to be followed in the event that not enough correctional officers bid on the posts that are assigned to a 4/10 CWS.(3)
POSITIONS OF THE PARTIES
1. The Union’s Position
The Union proposes that, following the initial 6-month trial period for the four posts the parties have already agreed to, five more posts in Correctional Services be placed under a 4/10 CWS. The five posts would include four relief positions (one each from the morning and day watch and two from the evening watch), as well as the "shakedown" post. The 4/10 CWS for these additional posts also would be tested for a 6-month trial period. As to scheduling, days off under the 4/10 CWS would not be split, and Sunday would be one of the days off in order to avoid premium pay. To address a situation where an insufficient number of correctional officers bid on the 4/10 CWS posts during the quarterly roster bidding process, the Union proposes that prior to the start of bidding, all correctional officers would have a one-time opportunity to "opt in" by notifying management whether they have an interest in working a 4/10 CWS. In the event that an insufficient number of correctional officers bid on 4/10 CWS posts, the Employer would select the most junior correctional officer from the list of those who opted in to work the 4/10 CWS post that was not bid upon during the quarterly bidding process. If fewer correctional officers opt in than there are 4/10 CWS posts, the parties would meet to determine which post(s) should be removed from a 4/10 CWS.
There should be five more 4/10 CWS posts because the Employer has failed to provide any evidence to support its claim that adding them would increase the cost of operations or result in scheduling difficulties; moreover, a 6-month trial period for these five additional posts should allow the parties to assess the feasability of retaining, modifying or terminating the 4/10 CWS to which the posts have been assigned. The Employer always would retain control over work hours because it would have the ability, during the trial period, to remove the posts from a 4/10 CWS by demonstrating that the work schedule is having an adverse impact on agency operations, as defined under the Federal Employees Flexible and Compressed Work Schedules Act (Act), 5 U.S.C. § 6131.(4) Since relief officer positions are not included within the Employer’s Complement Analysis,(5) scheduling them under a 4/10 CWS would not have an impact in determining the total number of posts needed to cover work. Furthermore, a similar schedule has been successfully implemented at another Federal prison in Sandstone, Minnesota. Finally, with respect to procedures for addressing the possibility that not enough correctional officers will bid upon the posts assigned to a 4/10 CWS, the Union’s proposal provides a fair procedure which would increase the likelihood that employees who do not have an interest in working a 4/10 CWS would not be involuntarily assigned to one.
2. The Employer’s Position
The Employer opposes adding any additional posts to a 4/10 CWS until the four posts in the Visitors Room are successfully tested under that schedule. An incremental approach that does not commit in advance to the implementation of a second CWS program 6 months later is preferable because it would provide information on the feasibility of placing more posts under the schedule. Adding more posts now to a 4/10 CWS may affect the Employer’s Complement Analysis Report, which is based upon shifts of 8-hour duration and not 10 hours. There also may not be enough work for relief officers under a 4/10 CWS, as they typically fill in for 8-hour posts, leaving a 2-hour period without scheduled work; ultimately, this could lead to scheduling difficulties for Correctional Services.
As to a procedure for dealing with circumstances where too few employees are interested in 4/10 work schedules, the Employer’s propo